City seeks input on Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park master plan

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The city of Austin seeks public input as it develops a master plan to redevelop the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park, which is located in East Austin, just west of Hwy. 130 and accessible via Blue Bluff Road.

The regional park includes nearly 3,700 acres of parkland and Lake Walter E. Long, as well as 765 acres of preserved habitats and the grounds of the Travis County Expo Center.

Its facilities include hike and bike trails, picnic areas, volleyball courts, boat ramps and fishing piers.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is working with industry professionals and a technical advisory board to develop the master plan.

Additionally, PARD seeks feedback on multiple plan concepts as well as on the public value of continuing to replenish Walter E. Long Lake with water from the Colorado River and of a 36-hole Professional Golfers Association golf course on a portion of the park’s grounds.

Austin Energy currently uses the lake for cooling purposes, according to a PARD presentation given at the most recent public input meeting June 6. However, as the department transitions to alternative energy generation methods in the next few years, its use for the lake will end.

As a result, “[l]ake operations and replenishment will need to be assumed by others,” according to the presentation.

Two public meetings have been held; another two will be held between July and November, when PARD expects to present a final master plan to the City Council for adoption. Dates for the remaining meetings have yet to be set.

A preliminary version of the master plan should be available at the third public meeting, which will likely be held in August, according to a PARD spokesperson.

In addition to the open house events, Austin residents can take this survey to provide feedback.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and economic development. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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